Wildlife Conservation Society researchers in the remote northern jungles of the Republic of Congo have made a startling discovery: approximately 125,000 western lowland gorillas – more than twice the previous worldwide estimate. Coined “the Green Abyss” by scientists and explorers eager to do some coining in a world running increasingly short on coinable areas, these remote forests are extremely swampy, making tent sites nearly impossible to find. Apparently the lack of KOA campgrounds accounts for the previous lack of research in the area and oversight of the vast majority of the population.

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Luckily for the gorillas, this challenging terrain also accounts for a lack of loggers and poachers resulting in the highest ever recorded densities for this gorilla. In some areas gorilla density is eight individuals per half square mile, making this the Co-op City of Central Africa.

Per the WCS website:
The new census was the result of intensive fieldwork carried out by WCS and the Government of Republic of Congo. Across an area covering 18,000 square miles, researchers tracked the animals by counting their nests, which nomadic gorillas build each evening to sleep in before rising the next morning in search of browse and a new overnight campsite.

Despite this obviously uplifting new report, the pristine Green Abyss may not stay that way for long. While conservationists have won some promises to turn much of the area into parkland, logging rights have also been sold for some of the areas. Even if it was to be preserved as parkland, the cost of patrolling the area would be high. Luckily the WCS seems to have gotten to the area before the loggers and poachers, but now the real work begins.

Thanks to Bryan Leblang for forwarding along.

(Damning footage the WCS doesn’t want you to see below the fold)


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